With a hefty nod to the folks at Lifehacker.org for the idea and questions, we’ve decided to share a little bit about how the bloggers at SA Women Talk Tech work.
By Josie Ahlquist
- Location: Los Angeles, CA
- Current Gig: California Lutheran University Doctoral Candidate and College of Education Graduate Assistant. Epic Wife, Animal Rescue Momma and Blogger.
- One word that best describes how you work: Flow
- Current mobile device: iPhone 5, Tablet: iPad 2
- Current computer: Macbook Pro
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? Why?
There are three areas I will highlight with tools I can’t live without, including school/work, blogging and all others fun areas of my life. But there is one app in particular if for some reason disappeared tomorrow I may cry. No seriously. Because Evernote, premium version is my jam.
From recording my research interviews, dreaming about the future, writing blog posts to creating lists. It syncs with all my devices, so on the go or at home I am up to date. I just can’t say enough good things about Evernote, or my addiction with its’ ability to help me stay organized, efficient and on point.
- School/Work: As a (recent) Doctoral Candidate, using technology tools to keep me on track are crucial. Evernote is on this list, but Dropbox has also been extremely crucial. No more days of frantically looking for my USB drive that has my paper on it. Kindle is also key for textbooks and relevant social media books that I can quickly reference to through past highlights. Google+ hangouts have also proved extremely beneficial to connect with my colleagues across the country doing similar social media in higher education research, but also to use for research interviews. Finally, Pandora has been a great resources and companion to keep my ears and writing soul.
- Blogging: I have been blogging consistently for 15 months. Right away I jumped onto wordpress.com to serve as my blogging source; I love the ease formatting as well as endless options in customizing themes and widgets. As my blogging expands, I will probably move over to wordpress.org, which also for even further customization. Along with Evernote, Scoop It has provided a great content curator for me. Also, I use a website called http://www.123rf.com/ where I buy credits to use photos on my blog site.
- Personal: Fitness and the pursuit of happiness are cornerstones to my life. Because of this, I have apps that I use almost daily. The first of these is MyFitnessPal which helps me track calories as well as exercise and overall health. It has been great to apply a level of awareness to my daily activity, especially since I sit so much as doctoral student. I joke the reason I got a dog was to get out the house more, but really having animals in my house adds much more happy days into my life. Because of this, I find myself using the website and app called BringFido to help provide us help in finding restaurants, hotels and other things to do wherever we are that are dog-friendly. Finally, I will admit I am an Instagram junkie. I have always loved taking photos, so it really wasn’t a surprise that I would use it a lot. Recently I have added reflection to my posts, completing a movement asking if you can be happy for 100 days, called #100happydays found at http://100happydays.com.
My workflow is like this:
- I wake up nearly every day at 8am on the dot, thanks to a furry companion that refuses to sleep in. We walk for about 15 minutes then I load up on my favorite tea and cereal. I could live on those two staples alone. My Fitness Pal app would tell me I should do otherwise.
- After feeding the dog, I look first at my Google Alerts that I have set up for daily delivery. These are automatic emails I receive from Google searches that look for the following terms like “Digital Education or Social Media in Higher Education” and especially my name. While I eat, I review articles that I feel are shareable. Many times I tweet these out right away, unless there are a large number, then I will use the website Buffer to send them out throughout the day.
- After one hour of reading, reviewing/updating to-do lists and responding to emails I head off to exercise, either running, yoga, lifting or spinning. I realize this schedule wouldn’t work for most people that are at work during the day, but due to working and going to school from home, a mid-morning workout fits for me. I love knowing there rest of the day my workout is already complete and I use the energy to aggressively move into my to-do list.
- My workday truly begins around lunchtime. I work in chunks of two-hour blocks, physically moving my body and location of work after each. In those breaks I may run a quick errand, go to the dog park or heck maybe a siesta!
- I minimize social media and email inboxes out of view, especially when I need to be purely writing. I first start in my office, then move to the kitchen table and usually end up in the late afternoon/evening at a coffee shop.
- I described above how I work as ‘flow.’ I attempt to set up my surroundings and well being to allow for complete immersion in a project. I know when I am in ‘flow’ when I lose track of time, forget my fingers are moving on the keyboard and find myself singing at the top of my lungs from the most recent Pandora random song selection.
- While in ‘flow’ I may go back and forth from my computer, to journal to white board and back to my computer. My mind works in color-coding, to-do lists and dream boards. I stay focused with movement and variety of visual/learning methods.
- Whenever I find myself falling out of a state of flow, I find an article that will refuel me or breeze through twitter to see the latest news or student affairs chatter. Sometimes even changing the song or where I am sitting will do the trick.
- At the end of every day I write my to-do list for the next day, as well as ensure my schedule lines-up to meet those demands. I write my number one priority at the very top, with other items falling under based upon priority.
What’s your workspace setup like?
Honestly I can and sometimes have to work anywhere. The last few months I have been on the road a ton, so I made the best of airplanes and hotels. I actually found my best productive and flow moments on an airplane without wifi. This last year has been the first time having a home office. Recently I had to ‘reclaim’ the space, as it was set-up too much as a guest bedroom. While we love our guests (and welcome more), going into my last year in my doctoral program I had to make this space more for me.
Now I am surrounded by the books I love, photos of inspiration and an open workspace that finally works. You’ll also find a dog bed and toys on the ground, as my little guy tends to follow me wherever I happen to be in the house. I also enjoy working at our kitchen table, as the lighting is great and the table is huge allowing me to completely spread out books, research journals and notebooks. When I head out of the house, I tend to hit up Coffee Bean, Starbucks or Panera.
What’s your best time-saving shortcut/life hack?
Having access to evernote, kindle and google drive wherever I go is a serious timesaving shortcut. I can be at the dog park or doctors office and pull up a paper I’m working on or get through another journal article. I try to use even those ten minutes to good use.
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?
My headphones. Whether out on a run or working at a coffee shop, these are a requirement.
What do you listen to while you work?
Sometimes I need to hear what I know and love, using my own itunes playlists. Other times I use Pandora or Spotify to explore. My go to’s depending on my mood, ranging anything from my girls like Ingride Michaelson and Norah Jones or club beats from Skrillex and Robyn. There are also two YouTube-based artists I can’t get enough of Mike Tompkins & Lindsey Stirling.
What are you currently reading?
It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by Danah Boyd. This should have been finished months ago, but submitting and passing my dissertation proposal had to be priority one. The love the book because it blends research with practicality and challenges perceptions of youths use of technology like social media and gaming.
Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
I actually see myself as both. While I do ‘test’ as an extrovert and see many of those personality tendencies in me, I cannot ignore other elements of introversion that are salient. Recently I heard about a new classification called Ambivert where I ‘tested’ positive receiving equal parts extrovert and introvert.
What’s your sleep routine like?
I try to be wind down at least by midnight, up by 8am and if the day allows for it I have no problem cashing in on an opportunity for a nap.
Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _________ answer these same questions.
My 20-year-old self.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I love using quotes for inspiration and advice. Here are my favorites:
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
“Life isn’t about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself.” -George Bendard Shaw
“Surround yourself with people that are going to lift you higher.” -Oprah Winfrey
“Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure. Live bravely, excitedly and imaginatively” -Eleanor Roosevelt